What to Expect When You're Expecting

OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson's walks triplets Erica, Jaclyn and Nicole through what they should eat and not eat when expecting. Pregnant women should eat 1,800 to 3,000 calories per day, depending on their pre-pregnancy weight.

"You're not eating for two ... or three, or four! You only need 300 more calories a day," Dr. Lisa advises.


"Remember, you want to put things in your body that are going to make your baby heathy," Dr. Lisa says.

• Fruits and vegetables - four or more servings per day

• Whole grains - six to nine servings per day

• Dairy products - four servings per day. Dairy products like low-fat yogurt are high in calcium, which helps strengthen your baby's teeth and bones

• One serving of cooked fish per a week can help with your baby's eye and brain development

• Foods high in iron like spinach

• Foods high in folic acid like whole-grain cereals, nuts and seeds

• "You know what I did when I started to get smart?" Dr. Lisa says, recalling her weight gain when pregnant with her son, Daniel. "Once a week, give into a craving. Just once a week." 


• Raw or undercooked fish like sushi

• Cold cuts (meats) unless they're piping hot

• Raw or undercooked eggs

• Unpastuerized cheeses or milk (due to risk of listeria)

• Raw or undercooked meat. All meat needs to be well done. 

• Liver and pâté, which contain vitamin A, and can cause birth defects

• Excessive caffeine

• Aboslutely no alcohol

What Side to Sleep on

“You can [lie] on your right side, too,” Dr. Lisa says. “After the second trimester, though, you just don’t want to go flat on your back because the uterus can be heavy enough to compress the major vessel that’s supporting [the] baby. So what you want to do is if you’re even just wedged, you’re fine, but really, in studies, maximal is the left side, but you’re OK if you’re on your right side.

“You’re just going to get more and more uncomfortable when you sleep, so you may need to take catnaps, too,” Dr. Lisa adds. “But that’s absolutely normal during pregnancy.”

Stop the Swelling

Swelling in the legs and feet during pregnancy is normal, because pressure from the uterus compresses the blood vessels, causing fluid retention.

Remedies for Swollen Feet
• Elevate your feet
• Wear compression stockings
• Avoid standing or sitting for long periods of time
• Stay cool, since heat can make the swelling worse

If you suffer from severe or sudden swelling, it could be a sign of preeclampsia. Symptoms of preeclampsia include headaches, blurred vision and dizziness. Swelling in only one leg, especially if you have pain or tenderness in your calf or thigh, could be a sign of a blood clot. Make sure to talk to your doctor if you suffer from these symptoms.


"Pregnancy can just be fraught with these things," Dr. Lisa assures. "They're very uncomfortable, annoying, and difficult to live with, but you don't have to."

To remedy constipation, try prunes, lots of water, exercise, fiber laxatives and stool softeners. Often, the extra iron in pre-natal vitamins causes constipation.


Are Epidurals Safe?

An epidural, an anesthetic that blocks pain in a particular area, is among the most popular pain-relief methods during childbirth, but are there risks to alleviating the pain?

Explaining Epidurals

Dr. Lisa explains how an epidural works and if they are safe.

“Women do not get a gold star for being in pain,” Dr. Lisa says. “If that’s something you want to do, that’s fine. That’s absolutely not going to change anything. But you absolutely do not have to be in pain to have a baby. Women have actually died of too much pain, and women in other countries, who cannot get epidurals, would kill for an epidural.

“There are risks for any procedure, but they’re very minimal if it’s done in a safe environment,” Dr. Lisa continues. “They can actually be very helpful for certain conditions in pregnancy, like a twin pregnancy and obviously for a cesarean-section.”

Because the epidural does make a puncture wound, risks include possible infection, bleeding and severe headaches. “But they are very rare,” Dr. Lisa says. “It’s definitely an option women should think about.”
Lose your Baby Weight

Lose the Baby Weight
Breastfeeding and milk production actually burns between 300 and 500 calories per day.

"It definitely can help you lose weight really quickly," Dr. Lisa says. "After a while, it sort of evens out for everybody, but because it starts to break down that fat really fast, breastfeeding does help accelerate the weight loss."